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How do you know where your resume goes?

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Was your resume lost at sea? Did it make itself into the illustrious black hole? Did it find itself filed in the ‘maybe pile’ or worse, the shredder?

Seriously, no one is shredding your resumes – especially if they’re sent electronically. However, if they are sent blindly (not in response to a specific posting) or 6 months or more has passed, they can be deleted.

Employers have a legal obligation to maintain and document resumes that are received in response to any electronic posting. This is called the Internet Applicant Rule and is defined by the following criteria.

  • The individual submitted an expression of interest in employment through the Internet or related electronic data technologies;
  • The contractor considered the individual for employment in a particular position;
  • The individual’s expression of interest indicated that the individual possesses the basic qualifications for the position; and
  • The individual, at no point in the contractor’s selection process prior to receiving an offer of employment from the contractor, removed himself or herself from further consideration or otherwise indicated that he/she was no longer interested in the position

More details can be found here on the website for the Dept. of Labor OFCCP requirements. Maybe too many details for you, but employers should be long aware of their obligations.

So, as of now – you’ve likely submitted a dozen or more resumes in the past month to job postings you felt you were quite suited for and companies you were willing to work for. You may have completely a tedious online application process and received an electronic acknowledgement that your resume/application was now in the company’s system. Should you trust that it actually is? Yes. Companies invest a lot of $$$ to maintain their own HRIS systems, specifically for applicant tracking. Yet, there are some companies that may still operate in the darker ages of spreadsheets for applicant tracking. You might be surprised to know that many very large companies may still do so, and smaller companies have recognized the need and value to have a more systematic process in place, especially if they are growing and actively hiring. But a decent system for applicant tracking would likely not accept your online transmission if something were missing that was essential. So that electronic message (we now have your resume in our files) should provide you some sense of relief, that they’ve got it.

Human Resources will determine which department managers (if any) have access to those systems. Otherwise, their staff will regularly review all new incoming applications. Often, a candidate will be recognized as having other qualities/experiences that may be relevant to other areas in the company beyond what they have applied for – and tag that profile to be associated with that area should another job be opening.

With that said, I hope you have a little peace of mind.

Does that mean that there is no need to apply again? Absolutely not. If six months have passed and you were never contacted about your original app, and a new job posting is relevant to you – by all means, go for it again. Many companies will have you create a profile so that you don’t have to rebuild the same content time after time, and you just point the job posting to your resume profile, and there you go.

But let’s move ahead a bit. Let’s say you were interviewed for the job, and in person. But you never got the job offer.


Would you say the way you have been notified that you weren’t selected for a job has been traditionally one or more of the following:

  1. I wasn’t notified. I called to inquire and then found out.
  2. I received a letter in the mail. A generic response letter.
  3. I received a personalized letter in the mail about the decision.
  4. I received a generic email.
  5. I received a personalized email message about the decision.
  6. I received a phone call.
  7. I was given a reasonable statement about why I was not selected.
  8. I was encouraged to apply again in the future.
  9. I was asked to give my own feedback on the application an interview process with that organization.
So, please respond with a number(s) 1-9 on how you were made aware of the decision not to proceed with your candidacy for a job.
Would it shock you if a company did ask you for feedback? I am encouraging my own clients to make this a part of their practice, particularly when high volume recruiting is the norm. I firmly believe that the feedback ‘you’ give can provide employers very meaningful and forthcoming information about how their own processes may actually impede their recruitment efforts.
Please, let me know your thoughts.

One thought on “How do you know where your resume goes?

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